He decided to build a cabin on my land,

I could not refuse him,

So I told him to go ahead as long as the cabin was near the woods

And not on good farm land or in the flood plain.

 

My grandfather gathered all the building materials he needed,

He took from friends and family and tore down old river shacks

He bought cheaply from the parks service.

He took a load of roofing iron I no longer needed.

 

He moved it all to the spot he had chosen on the back of his old truck,

Taking many trips and using his own muscle to load and unload.

His chosen spot was near enough to the woods to be hidden

But far enough away so a fallen tree would not crush him in the night.

 

I visited him a few times as he built, bringing him a box of screws or fuel for his generator,

Things he needed. The spot was high on a hill, and the view was spectacular

You could see the beauty of the world from the front door;

The rolling green world, the rise and fall of forests and the blue of the horizon.

 

One day I took him a set of drill bits he needed, and I found him dead.

He was tucked up under a blanket, propped against a wall of that cabin

Mostly complete except for a section of roof.

Though I hated to do it, we buried him in town.

 

The night after the funeral, I went to the cabin

To see what he had at night

Standing inside, looking up through the missing roof

I’ve never seen the stars burn so brightly.

 

Published by David O'Sullivan